Posts Tagged ‘healthcare social media’

Recently we’ve been talking to a local medical group about its marketing. When my team presented its recommendations, they included digital strategies (pay-per-click was a big component), additional video content for various platforms, and social media marketing, among others. Unfortunately, the powers that be within this group do not believe that social media is an important component of an overall marketing program for a medical practice. “No one uses Facebook to find a physician.” They had similar feedback related to LinkedIn and Twitter.

With that in mind, I decided to conduct a quick test using my Facebook account. I use Facebook primarily to connect with business friends and colleagues around the country. I don’t have many contacts/Facebook Friends who actually live in my community. So, when I posted my request for recommendations for an orthopedic practice in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, I wasn’t sure what I’d get. You can see my post below.

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Below is a csreen shot of the exchange that ensued (it is still going on). As you’ll see, within 2 hours I had recommendations for three different orthopedic practices in the area (Duke, UNC Sports Medicine and Triangle Orthopedics), along with recommendations for Bikram Hot Yoga and Vodka. Two suggested I consider alternative options: one suggested neuromuscular massage while another recommended seeing a physiatrist. (Physiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move.) Later I received a second recommendation for Triangle Orthopedics. Remember, the people making these recommendations are old friends – people I trust. For me, there is power in these recommendations. Note: I’ve blacked out names of individuals in consideration of their privacy.

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You’re a social media user. Maybe even an early adopter. Then you may have heard of Thunderclap. If not, check out this terrific video introducing this powerful crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. The platform allows you to lend your voice to a cause – along with the voices of many others. (Depicted in the screen shot above is New York Presbyterian’s Thunderclap page where supporters can join in and help share NYP’s message celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.) Watch the video to learn how Thunderclap works.

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IMG_2605This time of year I normally attend the Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Summit in Rochester, Minnesota. It is one of the highlights of my year. What’s cool about the Summit is the amazing  concentration of healthcare social media practitioners and online community managers. It is unlike any other healthcare marketing conference that I attend.

Last week, while others attended the Mayo Social Media Summit, I was in Boston filming physicians and hospital administrators. You see, this year, instead of sending myself to Mayo, I made the decision to send one of our young social media account executives (Kate Rudy) to Mayo as a learning opportunity. I hated not being there with all my friends and colleagues, but was thrilled for Kate who made the most of the opportunity. She responded to the Summit as I always do: energized, excited and overwhelmed with new knowledge. As she  said in an email to me: “My tour of the Mayo Clinic left me speechless. Lots of information to digest.” I’m so glad that I made the decision to send her in my stead. I enjoyed following her Tweets from the conference and reading her email messages to my team. It was a good decision.

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What do you think about FourSquare and its future in the social media realm? For the last few years I’ve been using FourSquare – checking in at various spots as I live my daily life. I like being able to check in at a location with a photo, and post it simultaneously on Facebook. Frankly, it is the main way I handle status updates on Facebook. If it weren’t for FourSquare and Instagram, I would almost never post anything to Facebook and my friends would completely lose track of me!

I’ve found it fascinating to look at the picture of my life that FourSquare provides when I look back at my history of check-ins. There’s no hiding from the data. In a way, it is a form of ethnographic research that allows you to identify the patterns in someone’s life (mine in this case). Although the data in no way gives you a complete picture, it does give you some clear themes with which to work.

For example, here’s what FourSquare has to say about my life:

  • Is it more important to be the “mayor” of your company, or president? I am currently Mayor of Starbucks, Chapel Hill Quest Center (my daughter’s martial arts studio), Jennings (my company), Philip’s House (my friend Philip White) and Dan’s Mountain Retreat.
  • In the last six months, the top places I’ve checked in include: Starbucks (near my home), Starbucks (near my office), Jennings (my office), Raleigh-Durham Airport and Chapel Hill Quest Center.
  • The category of businesses that I’ve visited the most include: Medical Centers, Coffee Shops, Airports, Hotels, and American Restaurants. That says a lot. There’s my professional life in a snapshot.
  • Over the last 6 months I’ve checked in at 11 different airports. This shows that I’ve done a good job of curtailing my travel.
  • I’ve checked-in at Raleigh-Durham International Airport 82 times overall; 22 times in the last 6 months.
  • I’ve checked-in at Boston Logan Airport 43 times.
  • My caffeine habit has led me to check in at the Starbucks near my home 443 times over the last 3 years.
  • PF Changs is the restaurant where I have checked in the most with 121 visits since joining FourSquare. The good news is that if I am at PF Changs, it means I am with my family! I take that as a good sign. It is one of our special places for dinner – particularly on Sunday nights when the stress of a new week can start creeping in. Changs tends to help us fend off the stress.

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A year ago I met Brett Doucette at the SHSMD conference in Pheonix, Arizona. At the time, Brett was a web content and social media specialist for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. On the side, Brett serves on the adjunct faculty of Ashford University. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago asking if I would record podcast with him for his class on Healthcare Social Media. If you knew Brett, you’d understand why I was happy to help him out. He’s a great guy and a top notch marketer.

Today Brett emailed me a link to the podcast that now resides on YouTube. As long as it is already out there, and Brett invested the time in producing it, I decided I would share it in this forum. (I apologize for the audio quality but it was a phone interview…) Here are some of the questions we covered during the interview:

1) Tell me what role you play with social media.

2) Specific to healthcare, what eHealth trends have you most paid attention to?

3) Again specific to healthcare, what strategies would you employ to build and engage an audience?

4) What do you think is the future of social media in healthcare?

5) Are there any disadvantages of using social media when communicating with patients?

6) What advice or tips would you give to students that are using/will use social media at their workplace?

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It is common knowledge that not everyone active in the realm of social media participates in the same way. Some access their accounts daily and interact with brand campaign initiatives on a consistent basis while others only browse for brief periods of time before disengaging. Whichever the case, Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, has published a recent study (pdf download) that analyzed and categorized the different types of social media users on the web. In their research brief, Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users, Aimia has developed a segmentation model describing six distinct social media personas which may be useful for healthcare marketers interested in engaging specific types of social media users.

The following 6 personas comprising the entire U.S. adult population ages 18 or older:

No Shows (41% of US population) – least involved with social media, if at all; infrequently engage in online commerce.

Newcomers (15%) – passive users of a single social media network, primarily to enhance offline relationships

Onlookers (16%) – observe others via social channels on a regular basis, but share almost no personal information

Cliquers (6%) – active users of one network; influential among their small group of friends and family

Mix-n-Minglers (19%) – those who regularly share and interact with a diverse group of connections via social media

Sparks (3%) – most active and deeply engaged users of social media; will serve as enthusiastic online ambassadors for their favorite brands

Doug Rozen, lead author of the report and Senior Vice President at Aimia, was quoted in The Sacramento Bee describing the benefit that this data brings to marketers:

“Marketers often struggle to understand the true motivations and purchase intent behind customers’ social media activity. Proper segmentation allows marketers to appropriately identify, understand and influence customers through social channels.” (Source: The Sacramento Bee)

Aimia’s segmentation is based on two primary emotional drivers behind social media participation. One is trust. The other is control. According to Rozen,

“The more trust a consumer places in social media networks and their connections, the more likely they are to actively participate whereas the more control a consumer perceives over their social media activity, the more likely they are to engage with a wider variety of social media networks.” (Source: The Sacramento Bee)

Aimia has touched on a subject that should be very useful to hospital marketers hoping to better understand specific segments of their overall audience. As I am fond of saying, the day of the one-size-fits-all marketing solution is gone. (Did it ever really exist, or was that just bad marketing?) We are not communicating with a homogeneous audience. Even within specific demographic groups, there are psychographic variances that are important to understand. So understanding how people vary in their use of social media seems fundamental to developing any strategy for consumer engagement (or physician engagement).

What do you think? Has Aimia hit the mark by distinguishing and analyzing distinct social media personas? Is this information helpful to you? To read the original article from The Sacramento Bee, click here.

To access the complete report and infographic of Aimia’s study, “Staring at the Sun,” click, here. Below is the infographic from Aimia.

(Post written by Dan Dunlop with Charles Ramsey, Jennings Healthcare Marketing Intern and Wake Forest University student)

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My friend Chris Boyer is the Director of Digital Marketing & Communications for Inova Health System based in the Northern Virginia & Washington DC area. He is a healthcare social media thought leader and a great guy. In this video, he sings the “Social Media ROI Rag” at the 2012 Connecting Healthcare & Social Media Conference in New York City (#hcsmNY on twitter) on May 17, 2012. The video was recorded by Mike Sevilla, MD of the Family Medicine Rocks website.

This was not Chris’ first performance of the Social Media ROI Rag. I recorded him performing the hit at the 2011 Mayo Ragan Healthcare Social Media Conference. Here’s that video:

Also check out the following sites:

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One of the social media and digital health communication thought leaders that I follow closely is Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM, an Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Health Communication Program. Lisa teaches Online Consumer Health, Social Media and Health, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Recently I learned through Twitter that beginning May 23rd, Lisa is leading an online course on Mobile Health Design. Here’s the course abstract:

Mobile health (mHealth) is a growing area of importance as many health organizations have or are thinking about creating apps. This online course examines the impact and potential of mobile devices for health at a national and global level. Using design methodologies, students will conceptualize and design health apps that incorporate evidence-based guidelines and capitalize on the unique capabilities of smartphones and tablets.

This 4-week online course is a mixture of lecture, discussion and skill-based exercises. Guest lecturers will bring diverse expertise and perspectives to course material. During the course, students will have the opportunity to work in a team to design a health app for a real health organization, using the techniques covered in class.

Both healthcare and public health professionals and current Tufts University PHPD students are invited to enroll. All course activities will be implemented using Adobe Connect and Google+ Hangouts.

The course will examine:

  • trends in the adoption and use of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets;
  • how design incorporates the mobility, portability, and input/output capabilities of mobile devices;
  • how healthcare consumers locate health apps and decide to download and try them;
  • how people use health apps and why they sustain or abandon use;
  • studies of health benefits, with a focus on how apps educate, connect, track, and remind;
  • techniques for designing, evaluating, and monitoring the use of health apps.

Guest Lecturers

Lisa will bring in several guest lecturers. Tara Montgomery, Director of Health Partnerships & Impact at Consumer Reports, will present the course case study. Troy Oldroyd, who serves as the VP of Technology for Alliance Health Networks, Inc. will guest lecture on their experiences developing apps for their online health communities. John Mangano, vice president at comScore where he leads the Healthcare practice, will present on his insights into how patients and health care providers use and interact with the internet and how that activity ultimately turns into doctor visits and treatment, developed through viewing the online activity of over 1 million Americans.

Team Project

Students will work in small teams to design a weight loss app for Consumer Reports using techniques emphasized during the course. Teams will develop an app name and concept statement, define benefits of the app, justify design choices using research evidence, develop personas and conduct a competitive analysis to inform design, create simple wireframes for the app, and develop a product marketing plan. Creativity and innovation as well as consumer appeal, usability, and impact will be emphasized. Students will use Google+ Hangouts to collaborate.

Dates & Location

The course will take place between May 23 and June 20, 2012. Individual class sessions will take place between 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday with an additional session each week for teams.  The course will be conducted entirely online using Adobe Connect and Google+ Hangouts. http://mobilehealthdesign.wordpress.com/


The course is open to current Tufts University PHPD  students for credit, as well as to healthcare and public health professionals. Total enrollment will be limited to 20.

Health professionals may enroll by submitting a completed registration form to the Tufts University Registrar.  Registration costs $1000 on or before April 18th and $1200 before May 23rd. Tufts affiliates and alumni may enroll at the discounted price of $1000.

Contact information for Lisa: Email Lisa, read her blog, or follow her on Twitter @lisagualtieri.

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My question is: When will we reach the point where the majority of marketing and communications professionals within healthcare understand and use social media to advance their organization’s business goals? I’m not talking specifically about marketing departments. This applies to people involved in physician relations, referring physician marketing, physician and employee recruitment, and so much more. Through marketing conferences, webinars and industry publications, healthcare marketers have received a barrage of information about the relevance of social media to their professional lives. However, I’m not sure that this same communication has reached other parts of the healthcare organization with the same level of intensity and impact. It amazes me that this remains an uphill battle.

A week ago I attended the Physician Strategies Summit, produced by the Forum for Healthcare Strategists. It was an exceptional conference. The attendees seemed eager to learn and actively engaged the speakers with great questions. And several of the presentations were superb.

The conference is largely attended by professionals who work in the physician relations arena, rather than traditional service line or institutional marketers. One of the things that surprised me (why am I ever surprised?) was the relatively small number of individuals tweeting from the Summit. (I’ve grown accustomed to seeing conference attendees with electronic devices in hand.) I know that the number of people tweeting is not the best measure of social media adoption or sophistication, but it does seem to be an indicator that these professionals may not have traveled as far down the social media adoption continuum as some others. While I was keeping track, I noted 17 people contributing tweets or retweets during the sessions. However, of those, only a handful were actual conference attendees. The others were people following the Twitter stream long distance. Below is a snapshot of the Twitter analytics from the the end of Day Two of the conference:

Below is a screen shot of a TweetReach report showing data for the 50 most recent tweets at the time of the report (Monday, Feb 20, 10am). It tells a similar story: very few people tweeting during the sessions.

I don’t know the answer to my initial question, and I acknowledge that social media is not the silver bullet for marketers in our industry. But social media platforms, integrated with traditional marketing tools, can allow for a level of engagement not previously achieved through old school marketing tactics alone. We are now several years into this communications revolution. And every time I think I’ve seen my last Social Media 101 presentation (good riddance), I find that I have wrongly assessed the state of our industry, and Social Media 101 is still relevant.

Of course, as I write this, I am preparing to lead a Social Media 101 workshop for a gathering of dentists in North Carolina. As I’ve noted in at least one prior blog post, I have a dental phobia so this should be really interesting. What will it be like facing an entire room full of dentists? Perhaps they fear social media as much as I fear being in the dentist’s chair! I look forward to welcoming them to the world of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so much more! The world of consumer engagement!

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